The world’s largest fast-food chain is about to get even bigger.
McDonald’s announced an ambitious new campaign to usher in the “fastest period of growth in its history” in its investor update last week.
As part of that campaign, McDonald’s said it’s aiming to open some 50,000 restaurants across the world by 2027. It’ll also work to expand its loyalty program — which rewards customers with points they can redeem for food or drinks — from 150 million to 250 million 90-day active users by 2027. And it’s partnering with Google Cloud to automate its restaurants with generative AI, which it hopes will lead to customer benefits like hotter and fresher food and a more consistent ordering experience.
But the more critical point for McDonald’s lovers is that the chain will be making some changes to its menu too.
It’ll focus on expanding its chicken offerings, for instance, given that consumer demand for chicken is on par with beef these days. It will offer the McCrispy chicken sandwich in almost all its markets around the world by the end of 2025. It’ll also be expanding the McCrispy into tenders and wraps. It cut chicken snack wraps from its menus years ago because employees and franchises said they were too complicated to make.
McDonald’s said it will also improve a classic menu item — its burger — through a new Best Burger initiative that it’ll deploy into almost all its markets by 2026.
The initiative comes after years of testing the right strategy to make the McDonald’s burger as delicious as possible, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The company has found that one of the keys to taste is cooking fewer burgers at a time, and it has also calculated just how much to press down on its burgers (to the millimeter) with the metal clamp used to cook them, according to the Journal. Other changes it’ll make will be slicing the bottom half of the brioche bun thicker to preserve heat, cooking the onions on top of the beef patty, and taking the cheese out of the refrigerator ahead of time so it will melt faster, according to the Journal.
After McDonald’s first tested the strategy in Australia and saw positive results, it began piloting the approach in its West Coast restaurants and Midwest locations this year, according to the Journal. The company plans to deploy the program in all its US locations by 2024, the Journal said.
McDonald’s also said it had plans to sell bigger burgers at its investor update last week, though it’s not clear if that’s linked to the Best Burger initiative.
The brand also revealed a few more details, including menu items, for CosMc’s, its new restaurant concept that aims to solve the “3pm slump,” and might give Starbucks a run for its money. While the menu will include sandwiches, snacks, and desserts, it’ll be rooted in “beverage exploration,” McDonald’s said. So customers should expect to see a range of specialty drinks.
McDonald’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.